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Monday, November 2, 2009

The American Patriot's Bible (LOL)

Scripture for the
Imagined Community

November is upon us, which means that winter is upon us, the NFL is in full swing, and the AMERICAN PATRIOT'S BIBLE is finally off the presses!!! Yes, be sure to be the first in your neighborhood to have this "ornament" of Christian Nationalism proudly displayed on your coffee table. Your friends and family will be sure to delight in its passages that compare the bravery of Moses with the stalwart courage of Washington, and demonstrate how America has replaced Israel of old as God's chosen land. Children will glean precious pearls of wisdom of how the Bible helped to end slavery and gave women equal rights by inspiring the work of early abolitionists and women's rights protesters (even if it forgets to acknowledge the fact that the "Good Book" also sanctioned slavery for some). You will be amazed at how American patriotism and Christian piety go hand-in-hand and how God must truly love Americans just a little bit more than the rest of humanity. As American Patriot's Bible editor Thomas Nelson states:
THE ONE BIBLE THAT SHOWS HOW ‘A LIGHT FROM ABOVE’ SHAPED OUR NATION. Never has a version of the Bible targeted the spiritual needs of those who love our country more than The American Patriot’s Bible. This extremely unique Bible shows how the history of the United States connects the people and events of the Bible to our lives in a modern world. The story of the United States is wonderfully woven into the teachings of the Bible and includes a beautiful full-color family record section, memorable images from our nation’s history and hundreds of enlightening articles which complement the New King James Version Bible text.
And here's a video about their "noble" project:

Yes, the American Patriot's Bible will, once and for all, bridge the gap between God's Holy Word and American Providentialism. Here are just a few comparisons between the Bible and America made within the pages of the American Patriot's Bible:

** The Lord’s statement that Moses “is faithful in all My houses” (Num. 12:7) calls for a boxed quote from Grover Cleveland about how the teachings of Christ “results in the purest patriotism…”

** In 2 Corinthians 10:5 Paul notes that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but are spiritual and mighty in God for the tearing down of strongholds. This inspires the Patriot’s Bible commentators to provide the reader with a historical note about Eisenhower signing into law the clause “one Nation under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance. Eisenhower is quoted as saying this clause would help “strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our countries most powerful resource in peace and war.”

** Perhaps the most famous verse in the Bible is John 3:16 which tells us “God so loved the world he gave his only Son…” This inspires the commentators of the Patriot’s Bible to quote Colin Powell on how “the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders.”

** Jesus statement that “if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (Jn. 8:36) inspires a page long commentary on the Bill of Rights, with an ominous emphasis on how the “wall of separation” between church and state today is threatening freedom of religion.

** David’s census of warriors in Israel and Judah (2 Sam. 23:8) elicits a full page commentary on “Freedom’s Defense,” consisting of quotes from various people who agreed that freedom is worth fighting for, including the 19th century former slave, Frederick Douglas

** A reference to Joseph being sold as a slave to the Ishmaelites (Gen. 37:28) elicits a tender quote from Dick Cheney regarding how easy it is to “take liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you

** A statement that the king of Tyre gave gifts to David (2 Samuel 5:11) occasions a commentary on President Thomas Jefferson who provided the newly converted Kaskaskia Indian tribe seven year support for a priest and money for a church

** Joseph’s statement to his brothers that God had sent him to Egypt before them “to preserve life” (Gen. 45:5) elicits a quote from Clarence Manion regarding the Declaration of Independence’s statement that “all men are equal in the sight of God.” In so far as any connection between this verse and commentary can be made, it seems the commentators are suggesting a parallel between God sending Joseph and God sending the Declaration of Independence “to preserve life.”

** Following a passage that says that Abram armed his servants for war (Gen. 14: 14) the reader is given a page-long history on “The Right to Keep and Bear Arms” that celebrates the fact that early Americans were always “prepared to fight” for “liberty” which was “at the heart of their religion.

Fortunately, not all Christian Conservatives are buying into the nonsense of the American Patriot's Bible. Pastor Gregory Boyd, author of the book, The Myth of a Christian Nation, has the following remarks regarding Nelson's new Bible:
One of the more unsettling aspects of the Patriot’s Bible is the way it unashamedly glorifies nationalistic violence. Almost every nation and tribe throughout history has shared the idolatrous assumption that its military victories were evidence of divine favor. This has been a staple of pagan religion from the start. From its earliest days this same assumption has permeated American culture, it’s just that our tribal warrior god was called “Jesus” or “Jehovah.” In the Patriot’s Bible, this idolatrous mythology is given the appearance of divine authority by being interwoven into the biblical narrative.

From cover to cover, and in a wide variety of ways, the Patriot’s Bible is filled with glorified nationalistic violence. A good portion of its commentaries focus on America’s victorious wars (Vietnam, not so much) and on war heroes. Moreover, the introduction of every book of the Bible is accompanied with a montage of national monuments, symbols, stars and stripes, etc…that include, with few exceptions, images of armed soldiers, bombers and battleships. Most remarkably, each Gospel (The Good News of Jesus Christ!) opens with a picture that includes soldiers struggling to raise a flag under the words “In God We Trust.” All the subsequent books of the New Testament open with a montage that includes a flag waving behind the Statue of Liberty on one side and armed marching troops on the other.

When you consider the uniform and emphatic teaching of Christ and the New Testament authors that followers of Jesus are called to love and do good to our enemies, laying down our lives for them if necessary, this overt celebration of America’s violent victories over our national enemies is absolutely stunning. When you consider that Jesus explicitly repudiated Jewish nationalism (despite the fact that Israel, unlike America, actually had a special status with God) and that the New Testament consistently teaches that Gods’ Kingdom transcends national boundaries, the Patriot’s Bible celebration of American violence becomes more shocking still.
And here's another commentary on the new Bible:

One can only imagine what David Barton and other zealots will have to say!

1 comment:

J. L. Watts said...

Thanks for selecting my video of it, Brad. Here is my review of it: http://thechurchofjesuschrist.us/2009/06/the-american-patriots-bible-the-word-of-god-and-the-shaping-of-america/